INOU sees no answer to poverty in Budget


THE across the board increase of 4 per cent in personal social welfare payments marked an important step towards reaching the adequacy rates as set out by the 1996 Commission on Social Welfare, according to the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU).

However, INOU said the Budget, like its predecessors, did not present any real solutions to poverty and unemployment, while the benefits of tax reform mainly went to middle income earners.

The Children's Rights Alliance expressed disappointment at the announcement of £5 million additional expenditure for children in 1997.

The chairwoman, Ms Madeleine Clarke, said it was in no doubt about the need for substantial investment in the improvement of services for children who had disabilities or were disadvantaged, abused and neglected.

The Union of Students in Ireland said many students in part time work, and part time students in full time employment would benefit from the welcome changes in the tax regime. However, despite the Minister for Finance's commitment to social solidarity and Partnership 2000, he had failed substantially to address access to education. The union had hoped that improved financial support for disadvantaged access programmes to third level education would be introduced a clear recommendation in Partnership 2000.

An Taisce welcomed the control of farmyard pollution scheme, the funding of the Joyce Centre and Landmark Trust, and the provisions for the National Archives and the Irish Architectural Archive. However, from an environmental point of view, the Budget had been disappointing. There were areas where action could have been taken at little or no cost to the Exchequer, but nothing had been done.

Ms Frances Fitzgerald TD (FG) described the Budget as a modernising step towards equality in Irish society. It was a radical and reforming package that not only supported women who wished to return to or avail of work, but showed real compassion.